Local leaders question toll plans on US 75

Link to article here.

State, county leaders question proposed toll lanes along U.S. 75
Dallas Morning News
July 2, 2014

RICHARDSON — Several Collin County and state officials voiced concerns Tuesday about TxDOT’s plans to turn HOV lanes into toll lanes along a section of U.S. Highway 75.

The elected officials were among more than 120 people at the Richardson Civic Center for a public meeting about the proposal.

Under a plan unveiled last month, single-occupancy vehicles would be allowed to use the managed HOV lanes by paying a toll. Car poolers would have to register to use the lanes for free. The plan involves a stretch of U.S. 75 beginning near LBJ Freeway and ending in Allen.

Republican state Reps. Jeff Leach of Plano and Scott Sanford of McKinney said they oppose the project. Leach pointed to other toll roads that cross Collin County — State Highway 121, the Bush Turnpike and the Dallas North Tollway.

“We’ll basically be a gated community,” he said.

Leach and Collin County Judge Keith Self suggested turning the HOV lane into a regular lane to boost capacity on U.S. 75.

County Commissioner Duncan Webb said he also shares some of his constituents’ worries about having to pay more tolls.

TxDOT spokeswoman Michelle Raglon said there is “a false fear” about the project. People will have the choice to drive on the main lanes if they don’t want to pay tolls, she said.

Removing the HOV lanes would be complicated because they’re tied to federal funding, which has its own set of rules, Raglon said.

The $11 million project is in the design phase. TxDOT will accept comments through July 11. A public hearing is planned for September.